For the Black-and-Red, defense is critical. With captain and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Steve Birnbaum and MLS veteran Bobby Boswell at the heart of the defense alongside United's first-ever Homegrown Player Bill Hamid providing cover in goal, the Black-and-Red are well-versed in defending. Leidos, the presenting partner of D.C. United, is a global science and technology leader in defense. Whether it's air, land, sea, space, or cyberspace, Leidos meets challenges and provides solutions. Sponsored by Leidos, this weekly feature delves into some of the defensive storylines for United's next match.
Defenders Chris Korb and Chris Odoi-Atsem each hit career milestones in United's match against the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon. Korb made his first Major League Soccer start since Aug. 13, 2015, while Odoi-Atsem made his RFK debut after subbing on in the 84th minute.
Korb, who signed with United on May 4 following a successful spring trial, overcame months of injury complications to earn his first start in nearly two years. The defender regularly started in United's back line from 2011 into 2015, but suffered a season-ending ACL tear against New York City FC in August of 2015. Complications and additional surgery sidelined Korb until this spring, when he returned to training and ultimately signed a new contract with the Black-and-Red. After appearing with United's USL affiliate the Richmond Kickers on May 6 and subbing on against the Philadelphia Union on May 13, Korb earned his first start since 2015 and logged 84 strong minutes on Saturday.
Saturday's match was also rookie Chris Odoi-Atsem's RFK debut. The former University of Maryland defender picked up a minute of playing time in United's April 30th match in Atlanta, but had yet to appear in front of the Black-and-Red's home crowd. After entering the match for Korb in the 84th minute, Odoi-Atsem completed all ten of his passes to lead the team with 100% passing accuracy.